CARBONDALE — For the new CoMotion dance troupe in Carbondale, pushing boundaries is all part of the creative process.
“One thing very unique about CoMotion is that our projects are collaborative,” said co-founder Deborah Colley. “There isn’t one choreographer making all the calls and directing all the traffic. The creative process is driven by concepts and the feedback of others.”
Colley, operations manager for the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (CCAH) by day, said the contemporary dance company was formed to create an entertaining, educational and inspirational repertoire to spark passion for the art of dance in the Roaring Fork Valley. CoMotion is short for “Conscious Movement Project.”
“We are five women, each with full-time jobs pouring our passion into these projects during our free time. I have some of my best creative moments with these ladies, and also some of the worst,” she said. “Tension can get high. Individuals react differently to feedback. But we have had to learn to work together. We believe the collaborative process makes our technique and choreography richer.”
Along with Colley, valley contemporary dancers Ashley Arnold, Dana Ganssle Ellis, Aja McAdams and Brianne Jones started the troupe this winter with a mission to work across several artistic mediums. They merge dance with the visual arts, film and music to create multi-dimensional projects, all the while exploring their creative boundaries.
“These particular projects had leaders or directors who came up with the original concepts and basic movement phrases,” Colley said. “But the members of CoMotion helped dances take their shape and influenced the progress and story line. This is not always easy.”
Colley describes CoMotion work as transformative performing arts experiences. This weekend, the dancers bring their own stories of transformation to the Carbondale stage with a new collaborative project, “Fractures & Divides.” Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Warehouse, 698 Merrill Ave. Carbondale’s Dance Initiative — a nonprofit organized in 2009 to support and promote Colorado dance and the valley’s dancers, teachers and choreographers — presents the CCAH-sponsored event.
“CoMotion has been working on this choreographic project since May. The theme was going to be ‘Boundaries.’ Originally there were going to be two separate dances, one about the boundary that exists between the man-made and nature, and then another dance about boundaries within relationships,” Colley said. “During the process of choreographing, concepts changed. ‘Fractures & Divides’ is now a three-part show, beginning with a 15-minute piece titled, ‘Release,’ about the fragmentation of human reality as a result of all things man-made. It carries within it a series of snapshots capturing the fragmentation of civilization from nature, and then the fragmentation in human relationship as a result of our structures, careers, cell phones, pace of life, etc.”
Colley said “Release” reflects on how society’s fragmentation ultimately ends with death, hopefully releasing the human race into oneness instead of separateness.
“The next piece is a bit more fun,” she said. “It is a short improvisational piece I will be performing titled ‘Roadkill Cafe.’ It will be full of surprises for the audience, and probably for me as well.”
Colley’s solo dance piece involves chalk and audience participation. The show’s final act is a 12-minute exploration of boundaries and human relationships.
“It is catty, contentious, but evolves,” she said.
For co-founder Ganssle Ellis, participating in CoMotion’s evolving performance dance and installation art — as well exploring theoretical aspects of movement and choreography — is an important aspect of her own arts dialogue in the valley.
“The beautiful thing about our community is that there is space for experimentation. These performances will really push the envelope in terms of what people are used to seeing and experiencing,” she said. “We all feel so honored to share our work with the community and to have so much support to make this happen.”
CoMotion co-founder Arnold agreed.
“To collaborate with so many talented artists is incredible. It’s so amazing we have that opportunity here in this valley,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of CoMotion: To collaborate, create, build movement deep-rooted in meaning. Movement that carries stories, concepts, voices.”
She said the CoMotion creative process allows its dancers to communicate in an authentic, pure form.
“It is free from the inaccuracy often brought to the table through words,” Arnold said.
Tickets for ‘Fractures & Divides’ are $10, and seating is general admission. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at www.danceinitiative.org.